Sunday, September 20, 2009
No pee pee in choo choo train: A lesson in self-discipline
A list of items I do not buy at the store: ice cream, cookie mix, cake mix, icing, cheesecake (mmmm, oh wait, I'm not really talking about cheesecake, moving on...), chocolate, cokes, brownie mix, doughnuts. In reality the list should be longer, but that covers many of the basics I avoid. Why? Because I have no self-discipline when it comes to having these wonderfully bad for me items accessible without having to: get in the car, load up the baby, look for coupons for the item, buy the item, come home, make the item, clean the dishes.......
So we all understand that being self-disciplined is a desired trait. Teachers, preachers, coaches, parents, and bosses everywhere can tell us the advantages of a person being self-disciplined. We can understand those advantages, and most of us work to achieve higher levels of self-discipline in different areas of our lives: consider the New Year's Resolution.
Ryder has recently been working on self-discipline. He begins by verbalizing the problem. I heard him in his bedroom talking and his self conversation went like this, "Ry Ry no go in road. Noooooo. Ry Ry go in road, get 'pankin.' Get time out, yaaa. Ry Ry no hit Oh Wow. No hit frends...Oh Wow frend....I hit Oh Wow, I get 'pankin' and time out" and so on. (Oh Wow = his cousin, Camden)
He also transfers problems to different situations. I have told him while changing his diaper, "Don't pee pee in the floor." The other day, we had his Thomas the train tent up, and we changed his diaper in the tent, which was great fun. I take his diaper off, and he says, "No pee pee in choo choo train." Now I have never said to not pee pee in the choo choo train, but Ryder is correct, and not peeing in the choo choo is a pretty good rule to live by.
After verbalizing the problem and understanding the consequences, Ryder puts the consequence into action. Twice now Ryder has gone to Cody, crying, and told him, "I get in time out." Neither Cody and I have told him to go sit down, that he was in time out, but he runs to the couch and sits down. He tries to stop crying, says, "Ry Ry no cry," and then asks "Can I get up now?" We do use time out as a discipling method, but as new parents, we are a little unsure how the time out method is supposed to work when the time out is self inflicted by the child.
Ryder also realizes that part of self-discipline is making sure you are held accountable even if no one sees the action. Ryder came downstairs tonight and tells me "I threw it in the porry (potty)."
Mom: "What did you put in the potty?"
Ryder: " I put game in the potty."
Mom: "Ryder, you are supposed to put things in the potty. If you threw something in the potty, then you are in trouble."
Ryder: "I'm in trouble."
I go upstairs and see his stacking rings in the potty, so here I come back downstairs to spank Ryder, and discuss how it is not appropriate to put toys in the potty.
Ryder goes back upstairs and we laugh at our funny little boy. Then, repeat above scene, replace game with "remote." (It was an old remote that stays in the playroom, well is supposed to stay in the playroom when it's not in the toilet).
I guess self-disciplining is not perfect, but it sure is an encouraging thought. I hope to hear over the monitor in the morning, "No throw toys in the porry....noooo...throw toys in porry, get 'pankin,' get time out..."
So while Ryder practices not going in the road, pee peeing in the choo choo, and keeping his toys out of the potty, I will practice NOT looking in the cabinet to see if I can find some chocolate, and I will NOT think too long about how much I love the milkshakes at Shake Shak, and I will be happy to be waiting for Ryder to teach me so many, many new ways that I can be a better person as Ryder goes about simply being his sweet and nice, funny, quirky, precious, precious little self.
(The picture is from last Christmas after getting the train tent from Papa Bear and Gigi. Oh, how so much changes in a year!)